I've always preferred my coffee just plain and simple, but since the instant coffee I bought a few days ago doesn't taste too great, I've been dumping every spice I have to my cup just for the fun of it. And then I remembered "raktajino", a drink I saw in this little sci-fi series called Star Trek, and thought I might as well try and replicate it. I originally wrote this for my Japanese friends, but since Star Trek isn't that big in Japan, I'm translating this in English (more like Engrish?). Also, this website isn't optimised for English, so yeah...I know.
I'm not a hardcore Trekkie nor an expert on coffee by any means, so don't zap me with your disruptors...It does taste good for me, though. I'm going to try and explain how I came up with mine, but if you want to skip straight to the recipe just click the very last section on the menu!
- Making My Original Recipe
- House of S'Zon Style Raktajino Recipe
I wanted to make sure my raktajino to be as close as possible to the ones shown on the show, so here's some information on it. I've also checked Memory Alpha, just to be on the safer side.
- often served in a "raktajino cup"
- drank ice or cold
- contains caffeine
- Dax says "extra sweet", so it probably contains some sweetener
- Dax also says "extra cream", hence likely contains some kind of dairy product too
- goes well with jacarine peel and icoberrytorte
- forms mint-taste froth when dipped with makapa bread
I don't know what jacarine is, but I guess it is some citric fruit. There is a style of coffee called espresso Romana, so maybe it's going to taste something like that. I also have no idea what icoberries are, but the torte resembles the blueberry kind, so I guess they taste similar, too. Mint-flavoured foam sounds cool, but I guess it will be almost impossible to make something with a similar effect. I'm just going to assume that makapa bread is weird and ignore this.
Since there wasn't much of in-universe information to with, at least I couldn't find enough anyway, I will use some details from Klingon for the Galactic Traveler (by Marc Okrand), as cited in gloubenterder on this Reddit post. Here's a short summary: Klingons named coffee "qa'vIn" based on the word "caffeine". By adding liquor to qa'vIn, Klingons created "ra'taj". ra'taj was exported to other worlds, but the exported kind was non-alcoholic and consisted of qa'vIn with nutlike flavouring. Based on ra'taj, or "raktaj" in the Federation, humans designed coffee drinks, and one popular example was the raktajino, which was basically a cappuccino made with raktaj.
Since I don't have a milk frother, I'm just going to forget that I saw the cappuccino part. Those are annoying to wash, you know.
1. Klah Version
I thought Klah was a Klingon character I had completely forgotten about, but it was a name of a similar drink from another fictional universe. Took me about an hour to realize that.
Klah Version Raktajino Recipe: Klah - Pern Wiki(FANDOM)
2. House of Kasara Blend
I couldn't find where this is from, but according to K'Tesh's Klingon Recipe Pages, it's from Ka'Diin Kasara from KIDC. I searched "raktajino" in KIDC, and found an inaccessible online forum; that might have been the original post, or maybe the Recipe Page is the original post, not sure.
I also found a Japanese review on this recipe, which is, by the way, the only Japanese post on raktajino recipe that I could find other than mine. The recipe, however, was completely altered despite them claiming to have made the Kasara Blend, so I don't know what really happened there.
The original, at least the one shown in K'tesh's page, is also a little weird. It states that the mix should make 14 servings, and 1 serving use 3 tsp of the mix. That should be about 210cc, right? But isn't that even less than the 1 1/2 cup powdered-milk in the mix? Dunno, physics is hard.
The House of Kasara Blend Raktajino Recipe: Non-Alcoholic Drinks - K'Tesh's Klingon Recipe Pages
3. the_eradicator Version
I'm just going to put a link to this one. This was the top result when I googled "raktajino recipe".
the_eradicator Raktajino: Klingon Raktajino: 7 Steps - Instructables
Making My Original Recipe
The four main ingredients to a raktajino seem to be: Coffee, milk, sweetener, and spices (including cacao). I'm going to take a closer look at each ingredient.
Both the Klah Version and the House of Kasara Blend has very little coffee in them, but judging from the show, raktajino should have enough coffee in it to at least get a decent caffeine boost.
The peculiar shape of the raktajino cup also makes me think that the coffee is served at a lower temperature than our Terran coffee. The smaller opening may be because it is made to be served in a spaceship, but since other cups don't have this characteristic, Klingon or human, I'm going to speculate that the coffee is brewed at a lower temperature. This may be due to the difference in the process or the equipment, but I'm going to believe that they use darker roasted beans; they do say that Klingons prefer food with stronger taste, and darker roast fit this description.
As for the beans, my first choice is Mandheling for its both stronger and nutty profile (and because it's my favourite). But they aren't too cheap, so Vietnamese might work too, the vanilla flavour will definitely be a plus in this spiced coffee. I'm however not fond of using that metal filter, and I do believe that it would make the coffee too cool to make a hot drink out of. Turkish coffee or cowboy style may suit the Klingon image better, but I never liked them either. I also don't own an espresso machine, so no. Aeropress is futuristic and cool, but I want something with a metal filter, so I think the way to go is the French press. But then again, I did say in the beginning that I am using my not-so-great instant coffee, and what's more futuristic than adding water to a brown powder to make a cup, so forget what I just said; I'm going with instant coffee.
The Klah Version doesn't have any dairy product in it, but judging from Dax's "Extra cream", I'm going to say my raktajino should have some. I do have a hard time imagining Klingons drinking milk, but then again, they don't drink raktajino nor ra'taj in the show, and since raktajino is only based on ra'taj, it is plausible that at one point someone thought of adding milk to the recipe. I've thought about powdered milk, but they aren't too common in Japan. Soy or whole milk is what I usually have in my fridge, and since I never liked soy latte, I'm going with whole milk. Most recipes have tons of dairy in them, but I guess I will just adjust the amount with the rest of my ingredients. I might make a lighter-coloured recipe and a darker one.
As I mentioned before, raktajino seems to have some sweetener in it. I do like the theory that Klingons have a sweet tooth, but I've never thought of being raktajino milkshake-sweet. Other than sugar and honey, sweetened condensed milk might be good too, but I don't have any in my fridge now, so no. But I do have some hazelnut syrup. Raktajino is supposed to be based on raktaj, nutty-flavoured coffee so hazelnut syrup might be awesome.
I'm not interested in chocolate coffee stuff, and since I usually don't have cocoa powder at hand, I'm just going to make up a reason why it shouldn't be included: If it had chocolate in it, Diana Troi would have loved this, but she didn't, at least on camera. So no, raktajino doesn't have chocolate or cocoa in it. Done. And no, I don't think cocoa is a spice, I'm just too lazy to add another section is all.
Allspice, Clove, Cinnamon, Nutmeg
For anything that asks for allspice, I just mixin clove, cinnamon and nutmeg instead. Spice ain't cheap, you know. But I will use the three though since it does go well with coffee. The aforementioned recipes all include cinnamon anyway, so I guess it is kinda required.
I've heard that cardamom coffee is (was?) popular, so I'm thinking about adding this to my mix. I also like hot food, so much that I posted how hot sauces may help with depression[Japanese; not going to translate that one..], I want to add some chilli. Out of the powdered chilli I have, habanero seemed to have the best smell and kick to it; cayenne didn't go well, and my Japanese kind simply made me think of udon noodles.
- coffee: Definitely strong. If not using the instant kind, I would choose Mandheling (full roast) or the Vietnamese kind, French-pressed
- dairy: Whole milk
- sweetener: Sugar or nut-flavoured syrup
- spice: Cinnamon should be a must. Clove, nutmeg, cardamom, habanero might be good in it, too.
House of S'Zon Style Raktajino Recipe
I came up with two: One with more milk, and one with less. I know S'Zon doesn't sound Klingon, but it's based on my username "Seizonsha-chan", so yeah.
House of S'Zon Style Raktajino <White>
- instant coffee...1 Tbs.
- hot water...10 mL
- cinnamon, cardamom..2 dashes each
- clove, nutmeg, habanero... 1dash each
- warm milk...c.150mL
(Hot) Add coffee and sugar to a warm cup. Slowly pour hot water while stirring. When everything is dissolved, add the spices and stir gently. Top with warm milk. Stir & Enjoy!
This recipe is for those who want to drink an afternoon cup with the Constable. Sugar worked better for me than honey. You can skip the habanero if it isn't your thing, but I recommend making it sweeter if you are going for that route. I also tried Blair's Death Sauce instead of habanero powder, but you really shouldn't. An iced cup also works and I actually prefer it that way. If you are not warming the cup beforehand, use twice the amount of hot water since the solid stuff won't dissolve as well.
House of S'Zon Style Raktajino <Dark>
- instant coffee...2 Tbs.
- hot water...160 mL
- milk...1 dash
- hazelnut syrup ...1 dash
- cinnamon, clove, nutmeg...2 dashes each
- habanero...1 dash
- Myers's Rum...2 dashes
(Hot) Add coffee and sugar to a warm cup. Slowly pour 10mL of hot water while stirring. When everything is dissolved, add the rest of the water. Stir. Add milk and hazelnut syrup, then the spices. Stir lightly. Pour the booze and enjoy!
I know this is non-canon, but I also wanted to make one more based on raktaj. I've been told that instant coffee tastes better if you dissolve it first with a small amount of water than just adding a cup of it. I don't know if this is true, but the guy who told me this owned a coffee shop, so I'm willing to trust him than my nose or tongue.
If you want to make this extra sweet, I recommend adding sugar with the instant coffee rather than adding more syrup. With too much hazelnut flavour, it's going to end up tasting like weird Nutella knock-off. I also get this annoying stickiness to the back of my throat with too much of it. If you don't have hazelnut syrup, almond works. Simple sugar syrup is okay too, but your raktajino won't have that nutty scent to it. I choose to stir only lightly after adding the syrup and stuff so that it gets sweeter as I drink more.
For an iced cup, I like it extra sweet with extra milk. Extra rum is also good, but too much of it does get annoying.
And since I believe the heat is going to evaporate all the alcohol in my drink, this is a non-alcoholic drink. So no, I'm not drinking alcoholic drinks in the morning!
So yeah, I don't know why I spent like 5 hours writing a recipe for a 20-yr old TV series, and I really hope my English is better than I think it is and you can understand this, but I guess I can ask a Dax to come to my quarters now? Well, in any case, hope you enjoy this! Qapla’!