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Thread: Tea-C Development

  1. #1

    Tea-C Development

    After several successful Cafenol-C developments I tried last Sunday for the first time to develop film in a black tea developer. I made a strong tea, the cheapest brand I could find, added a little bit ascorbic acid and washing soda. As I hesitated to risk a whole film I cut the last three frames only. I developed the film stripe for 60 minutes with my standard semi-stand process: first 30 seconds permanent slow inversions, then every 15 minutes 1 slow inversion.

    Here the result of the test picture taken on the balcony at home. Polypan F film @ 100 ASA (standard full speed), simple cardboard 135 camera, 43 mm focal length, 0.25 mm brass pinhole, tinted in PS to match the colour of the negative

    Attached files

  2. #2
    500+ Posts earlj's Avatar
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    Tea-C Development

    Looks like you got a full range of tones. I didn't know that tea works for development - this shows that it does, indeed!

  3. #3

    Tea-C Development

    I always do a double-take when I read TEA, because someone on APUG had a TEA-C recipe with triethanolamine.

    I think it had additional ingredients.

    This looks very nice, and safer too!


  4. #4

    Tea-C Development

    Renon, when you finalize a recipe, could you please post the info?

    Those are irresistably available ingredients...

  5. #5

    Tea-C Development

    Many thanks for your comments.

    I know about TEA, so I named my black tea home-brew Tea-C with upper and lower case letters.

    For 300 ml working solution I put 16 gr (a mistake I wanted to take 8 gr, but one tea-bag contains 2 gr of tea and I used 8 bags) of black tea in boiling water. Then I waited 30 minutes, filtered the tea, added 1 gr ascorbic acid and finally added 40 ml of my washing soda stock solution ( = 5.4 gr sodium carbonate crist.). I use this washing soda stock solution also for other developers like Beutler variations. the stock solution keeps very well. Ascorbic acid must be added shortly before the development. It does not keep very good in a stock solution without taking special measures.

    After this first successful trial I plan to do a little bit more testing for optimizing this developer. I'll keep you informed.

  6. #6

    Tea-C Development

    A first update.

    To leave out the influence of the ascorbic acid I developed today Polypan F film test pictures in a pure tea developer: 250 ml working solution = 16 gr tea + 4 gr washing soda + water. Development time: 2 hours semi-stand. The small picture shows the full negative. The gray scale corresponds to a crop of about 4.6 mm x 15 mm. The grain is very small and the sharpness excellent. And it shows that tea without ascorbic acid is working well (like coffee). Compared to coffee tea has less power and the development needs more time. Attached files

  7. #7

    Tea-C Development

    the crop

    Attached files

  8. #8

    Tea-C Development

    In the last days I made a few more trials. All test are done with Polypan F as test film.

    Tea (without ascorbic acid) works well: 250 ml working solution = 16 gr black tea + 4 gr washing soda + water, 2 h semi-stand development or 30 minutes 4 inversions per minute-> Ok but a little bit soft

    A few remarks: Don't use an acid stop bath, use pure water insted. This is necessary for all developers containing washing soda. Due to the chemical reaction of the washing soda with an acid stop bath you will get artefacts on the film. Filter the the Tea-developer (should be done also with coffee developers) to avoid black and white spots on your film. Stand development works fine, but I prefereda shorter development time with regular inversions every minute to further reduce the number of unwanted spots. Compared to coffee tea has less power, but the sharpness of pure tea is a little bit better. For me an interesting addition to my home-brewed developer collection.

    To increase the contrast I added a little bit ascorbic acid (works very similar to Hydroquinone in a Metol-Hydroquinone developer).:

    1000 ml working solution (250 ml per film is okay) = 64 gr black tea (the price of the cheap tea I'm using is 1.80 CHF/USD per 200 gramm) + 18 gr washing soda + 2 gr ascorbic acid + water. Development time of 30 minutes with 4 inversions per minute gives resonable good results (some samples below). The negatives (exposed at 100 ASA) are a little bit thin and soft, but good for scanning. The same formula can also be used for a 1-2 h semi-stand or stand development. - Adding more ascorbic acid would increase the contrast but you lose more and more the special "tea"-character of the developer.

    A few test shots under dull afternoon lighting (at the moment Switzerland can not offer more )

    Attached files

  9. #9
    500+ Posts Isis's Avatar
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    Tea-C Development

    Good work Rene. Do you need to use Breakfast Tea in the mornings, or can you use any black tea

  10. #10

    Tea-C Development


    how long was your exposure time with that cardboard camera mentioned in the starting post?

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