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Using Coffee As Ink?


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#1 minibear453

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Posted 21 June 2013 - 03:00

Just an idle thought from an avid coffee drinker. I know there are instructions for using tea as ink. Today, I tried using straight-up coffee (I literally sucked it out of my mug), and tried writing. The result was much too watery to even consider. Is there a way to make the coffee more ink-like? And will it damage my pens? I tested it in a Noodler's Konrad, if that makes a difference. I know coffee is an acid, but considering it's drinkable, I'm guessing it would not affect the plastics/metals in pens either.



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#2 GabrielleDuVent

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Posted 21 June 2013 - 03:30

I don't know about the reactions between the mechanism and the coffee, but the coffee acid is a fatty acid (which is safe for us because we have them in abundance). If I recall my rather gloomy chemistry lecture correctly (I probably have this wrong), fatty acids react with aluminium to form salts. 

 

Espresso machines are cleaned out, especially if they have solenoid valves, because coffee oils build up and ruin brew group gasket (I'm not sure the exact mechanism of it, I'm not an espresso machine expert). Of course, this involves the added heat when brewing espressos, so with FPs it might be different.

 

We do have rather strong acids in our bodies that probably would damage the pens. Gastric acid has a pH of 1.35 to 3.5, which is more acidic than lemon juice. 

 

The only solution I can think of is to up the concentration of the coffee... but I really won't try it with my best pen. If you want coffee flavour in your writing, I think De Atramentis produces coffee scented inks. 


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#3 SeeksAdvice

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Posted 21 June 2013 - 03:43

Don't do it...

 

You ever see what happens to a metal coffee filter if you aren't strict in keeping it clean?

 

You can clean those fairly easily.  Not so much the inner workings of an FP.


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#4 MisterBoll

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Posted 21 June 2013 - 04:02

One thing you could do is soak the coffee in cold water for 12 hours or so. This will give you the rich color you want while not pulling out too much of the oil in the grounds. Approach with caution and only use in a pen you don't mind getting messy.



#5 The Good Captain

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Posted 21 June 2013 - 08:25

If the coffee damages your pen you might have grounds for complaint.

Sorry - in advance!


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#6 soum

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Posted 21 June 2013 - 08:41

If the coffee damages your pen you might have grounds for complaint.
Sorry - in advance!


Yes, I sense trouble brewing for the pen.

Sorry, again!

#7 Eugen-of-Savoy

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Posted 21 June 2013 - 08:48

At the prices of coffee these days, I think ink is cheaper. Coffee is to drink, ink is to write and not vice versa.

#8 MisterBoll

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Posted 21 June 2013 - 11:30

Two fountain pens walk into a coffee bar..............



#9 RuiFromUK

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Posted 21 June 2013 - 12:58

A similar question was asked in an art forum about the use of watercolour paint in fountain pens. And a similar answer should apply here: no.

 

While most fountain pen inks are made with dyes, watercolour paints and coffee should not be used in fountain pens as they have a much larger granular structure. There are fountain pen inks which are made with pigments but there are also lists of fountain pens that can not use them.


Kind regards,

 

Rui


#10 fabri00

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Posted 21 June 2013 - 13:00

You should try with espresso, maybe.....?

 

Every 2/3 month somebody comes back with the idea to put in fountain pens something like coffee, red wine, and so on.

 

I would suggest to keep using ink for the fountain pen, and coffee or wine as drink.......!



#11 wallylynn

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Posted 21 June 2013 - 15:36

Yes, I sense trouble brewing for the pen.

Sorry, again!

Your expression of apology accepted.



#12 wallylynn

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Posted 21 June 2013 - 15:43

Personally, I think it's fine as long as you use a pen that you can thoroughly clean (like your Konrad).  

 

Many inks are quite acidic, perhaps more than the coffee, so that's not an issue.  Clogging could be due to the particles (esp if you use espresso), but that's why you limit yourself to a pen that can be disassembled and scrubbed.

 

Do take care not to leave it sitting around as the coffee will rot.  You don't want fuzzy stuff growing in your pen that can contaminate your bottles of ink.

 

Still, best to use fountain pen ink in your fountain pen.  Leave the other stuff for dip pens.



#13 Uncle Red

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Posted 21 June 2013 - 16:07

For use with a dip pen you could make extra strong coffee or let it evaporate a couple of days. Try adding some liquid gum arabic to thicken it up.

 

Personally I'll stick to DeA Tobacco and Stipula Sepia/Terra di Sienna



#14 PAKMAN

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Posted 21 June 2013 - 16:15

I bought the DeAtramentis Coffee ink and instead of the fresh brewed smell I expected, it smelled like cold coffee. It also looked much like the color of a coffee cup stain you get when you dripped coffee down the side of your mug and then set it on the paper. Neither had me wanting to come back for more. I ended up selling it but kept the Vanillia smelling brown from DeAtramentis.


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#15 dcwaites

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 02:40

I have made an iron-gall type ink using cheap (really, really cheap) black tea and steelwool/vinegar.

That worked quite nicely, producing a nice, grey/black permanent ink.

I think I wrote it up somewhere on the FPN.

 

Coffee is a different matter. Too many nasty (for pens) compounds and not enough dye.

 

I have written elsewhere on the FPN about using food dyes as ink (suitable for really inexpensive FPs or dip pens).

Perhaps you could get a few and blend a nice coffee-looking ink from those. And at about $1 / 50mls, they make really cheap ink. You could perhaps add a little Coffee Essence (made by Queen who also made my food dyes) to give it that coffee flavour/smell. But then it would be a dip pen only ink.


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#16 Arkanabar

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Posted 12 March 2015 - 19:56

Coffee has quite a bit in the way of solids in it.  Haunt some coffee snob forums, and you'll find that this is regarded as a good thing.  Solids keep coffee from being fountain-pen feed friendly. 



#17 Sasha Royale

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Posted 12 March 2015 - 22:06

You will end with your fountain pen staying up all night.  It won't be able to 

function the next morning.  

 

Stick with fountain pen ink.


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Verweile doch, du bist so schön ! 


#18 FLZapped

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Posted 13 March 2015 - 14:42

I remember seeing something about an artist who used coffee as their media....however, coffee is pretty acidic. Not sure I would want to put it in a pen.



#19 BlazeOrangeGuy

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Posted 13 March 2015 - 16:22

I am an espresso fanatic and have a commercial machine so I can at least share my experience with coffee. Coffee does have solids in it, which will be bad for your pen feeds. However, the BIG issue I think is the coffee oils. They are really, really sticky and build up quite quickly. In the coffee world, cleanliness is of utmost importance for a good cup. Otherwise, the oils left over on the metals of the group become rancid and affect the flavor of one's espresso. I use a specialized coffee detergent to clean the portafilters, group, and shower screen of my machine. 

 

My Mazzer espresso grinder has to be cleaned out regularly too - the fine grind particles become an oily paste that affects flavor and can damage the grinder or burrs in time. 

 

So I think oils and particles would eliminate using coffee in our fountain pens. 

 

All this being said, you could pull a ristretto with 15 grams of coffee and get 20 ml of espresso. This will be very concentrated. I'm sure you could use it with a glass dip pen or some other art dip pens for fun. I'd love to see some pictures of the result. Alas, I don't have a dip pen.



#20 jdotdesign

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Posted 13 March 2015 - 16:58

Thanks so much for your input!  The main innovation with WinkPens is that it is built specifically for raw inks. Having glass as a nib, there is no metal contact so for this pen, what I specifically encourage is testing different inks and you don't have to worry about ruining the pen. The product will launch this year, in the meantime the company site is here FB.com/winkpens  Any feedback I would love and will likely always be in the process of testing new inks ! :)








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