4-Tea-C: My Own Tea B&W Film Developer Recipe

I’ve seen a ris­ing inter­est on my tea b&w film devel­op­er post late­ly and real­ized that I nev­er did post my recipe here. It has been a while since I actu­al­ly devel­oped a roll of film with it but this recipe worked when I did use it. Your mileage may vary.

Ingre­di­ents (to make 500ml):

  • 2 tea bags of each Red Rose orange pekoe, Tetley’s pure green tea, Tetley’s pure pep­per­mint tea, and Tetley’s pome­gran­ate green tea (8 tea bags in total)
  • 2 tea­spoons of wash­ing soda (I used ARM & HAMMER® Super Wash­ing Soda Deter­gent Boost­er)
  • 1000mg vit­a­min C (I used “King of Spice” brand Ascor­bic Acid from Bulk Barn)
  • water


  • Pour 300ml of water into a saucepan, throw in all the tea bags, bring to boil.
  • Once it boils, turn off the stove and let steep for 30 min­utes.
  • Trans­fer to a mea­sur­ing cup to see how much tea solu­tion you got. I got 200ml after squeez­ing every drop from the tea bags.
  • Mix the vit­a­min C with the tea mix­ture. (In ret­ro­spect, mix­ing it with the wash­ing soda solu­tion would prob­a­bly be a bet­ter idea since mix­ing it with the tea mix­ture cre­ates a lot of froth.)
  • Mix wash­ing soda with water to cre­ate 300ml solu­tion or adjust accord­ing to the amount of tea solu­tion you got in order to have a total of 500ml.
  • Mix the tea-c and the wash­ing soda solu­tions togeth­er.
  • As for the tem­per­a­ture, I didn’t check but pret­ty sure it was room tem­per­a­ture, i.e. 20 degrees. (I know. Very sci­en­tif­ic indeed. *sar­casm*)


I read some­where that devel­op­ing with tea takes longer than with cof­fee but I wasn’t exact­ly sure how long I should do the devel­op­ment for, so I decid­ed to do a semi-stand devel­op­ment for 2 hours, just to be safe. 

Basi­cal­ly what I did was, I poured the devel­op­er into the tank with the film in it, did 10x inver­sion, put it on the kitchen counter and then went gro­cery shop­ping. Got home an hour lat­er, did anoth­er 10x inver­sions, and then anoth­er one before I poured the devel­op­er out of the tank at the end of the two hours.

Wash, fix with your favourite fix­er (don’t skip this!), wash, hang to dry!

Hope that makes sense! Would love to see the results if you decid­ed to try it out.

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