Coffee as a warm-toned toner? : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Hello all: I have recently started printing quite a few of my pictures on warm-toned paper, which I really like. In the past, I always toned my prints (nuetral or cold-toned paper) in selenium. I like the look of selenium toning for those papers, but didn't find that it does much for the warm-toned papers. Today I used a sugestion out of the Darkroom Cookbook and toned a selection of prints in coffee (just straight black coffee, fresh brewed). It does yield a pleasing warm brown tone and worked very fast. I am curious if anyone else has tried this and what your experiences are. How does coffee effect the archival qualities of the print? I also would be very interested in any other suggestions for toning warm-toned papers. I have been using mostly Ilford FB MGW .24K. Any thoughts on warm-toned printing in general would be more than welcome. Thank you in advance for your wisdom!

-- Mark DeMulder (, January 05, 2001


Try tea... preferably Earl Grey.

-- Chad Jarvis (, January 05, 2001.


I think coffee is actually a stain and not a toner (in that it doesn't plate or exchange the actual silver in the print). So it shouldn't offer any archival qualities to the print. If you're looking for a warm toner that has a similar color range and archival properties you might try something like Nelson's Gold Toner. I read somewhere that Sally Mann's recent landscape images were selenium toned first and then stained in a variety of concoctions including coffee.

Good Luck

-- Kevin Kemner (, January 05, 2001.

Mark, I agree with the post saying coffee is a stain rather than a toner. The grandmother of my best friend had a photo of her grandparents and family made in the late 1800's and I made a copy negative, reprinted it over 25 years ago on some Kodak fiber based paper and toned it in coffee. It produced and warm brown tone and she loved it so much that she bought a dozen to give to her children and grandchildren. I still have one in my print box and it still looks fresh. I was concerned about organic nature of the coffee and fungus over time but it is holding up today. Coffee certainly smells better than say sepia toner. Give it a try. Good luck and happy shooting. Pat.

-- Pat Kearns (, January 05, 2001.

Does it make a difference if you use decaf or regular? Does Espresso give higher contrast than Maxwell House? What if I add chicory?

-- Sean yates (, January 05, 2001.

I've had good luck with a relatively concentrated dilution of selenium toner on Multigrade Warmtone paper. Try 1:4 or 1:9. Good luck

-- Eric Lohse (, January 06, 2001.

Leonardo da Vinci's last supper, in Milan is one of the great masterpieces of mankind's history. One of the reasons of its poor state is that Leonardo experimented with a number of unorthodox methods which included alteretions in the traditional composition of pigments. So These experiments can be foolish, on the other hand where would we be in every now and again somedy dared challenging all the science and codes by trying something as crazy as this? Sally Man is a fantastic unorthodox photographer and even though her pictures might not last forever , she would have left her mark on photography's history a lot more than those who seem to know all ins and out of codified technique. Long live the nutters, what a boring world would be without them

-- Andrea Milano (, January 07, 2001.

Sean. Be careful of the Maxwellhouse. It isn't archival. And you use the half and half at a 1:4 dilution. Any more and your Dmax goes way down. Oh and real sugar instead of SweetnLow. Sweetens up the highvalues. James

-- lumberjack (, January 07, 2001.

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