When Star Trek: Prodigy Takes Place In Star Trek’s Timeline


There’s no doubt that Star Trek: Voyager’s Captain Kathryn Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) loves coffee. Other Star Trek captains also have beverages of choice to fuel their exploration of the final frontier. Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) famously sips on “Tea, Earl Grey, hot,” on Star Trek: The Next Generation, Captain Benjamin Sisko (Avery Brooks) enjoys a raktajino now and again on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and Star Trek: Enterprise’s Captain Jonathan Archer (Scott Bakula) likes sweet tea. Like them, Captain Janeway has been inextricably linked with her favorite drink: coffee, black.

Captain Janeway’s love for coffee was established fairly early in Star Trek: Voyager. When the USS Voyager crew was trying to conserve energy by offering replicator rations in Star Trek: Voyager season 1, episode 6, “The Cloud”, Neelix (Ethan Phillips) helpfully created an “even better than coffee substitute” that poured like motor oil and probably tasted about as good. Janeway’s struggle between leading by example and reserving replicator rations seemed solved when a nebula contained omicron particles that could top up Voyager’s energy reserves, leading Janeway to proclaim, “There’s coffee in that nebula.” From there, the association stuck. But why does Janeway love coffee so much?

Captain Janeway’s Coffee Obsession In Star Trek: Voyager Explained

“Coffee: The Finest Organic Suspension Ever Devised.”

Captain Janeway’s obsession with coffee in Star Trek: Voyager runs deep. In her own words, Janeway explains in Voyager season 4, episode 15, “Hunters”, that coffee “got me through the worst of the last three years,” and adds, “I beat the Borg with it.” In the Delta Quadrant, lack of contact with Starfleet Command means all decisions on the USS Voyager naturally fall to Captain Janeway, so coffee keeps Janeway alert and ready to take action. Instead of strictly replicating individual cups, Janeway sometimes pours coffee from a set, like a personal ritual connected to Earth that keeps Kathryn grounded and focused on Voyager’s return to the Alpha Quadrant.

Coffee keeps you going, whether it’s through the night or through the Delta Quadrant.

Coffee as a choice of beverage says a lot about who Captain Kathryn Janeway is as a person. Like Janeway, black coffee is strong and assertive. The right roast is bold. The lack of cream and sugar is straightforward. For those who share Janeway’s passion for the brew, morning coffee is non-negotiable, and Captain Janeway is similarly unlikely to be swayed once her mind is made up. Coffee keeps you going, whether it’s through the night or through the Delta Quadrant, and it’s easy to believe that with enough coffee, the Borg really can be defeated. A delicate tea like Picard’s Earl Grey just wouldn’t be the same. And yet …


Why Admiral Janeway Switched To Tea In Star Trek: Prodigy

“Admiral, You’re Not Drinking Coffee?”

In Star Trek: Prodigy season 1, episode 12, “Let Sleeping Borg Lie”, Admiral Janeway cites “doctor’s orders” as the reason for requesting black tea from the USS Dauntless’ replicator instead of her usual coffee, but tells Ensign Ascencia (Jameela Jamil) she needs “a second opinion”. Over time, the high amount of caffeine in Janeway’s coffee habit would have increased the side effects of stress, leading to an elevated heart rate and sleepless nights. Black tea has about half the caffeine as the same amount of coffee, so it’s a smart move for Janeway to drink tea instead when the life of a Starfleet Admiral is already pretty stressful.

In Star Trek: Prodigy season 2’s trailer, Admiral Janeway is briefly seen pouring herself a warm, dark beverage, as the Doctor (Robert Picardo) looks on. It doesn’t appear to be tea at all, and looks more like the black coffee that Kathryn Janeway is known for loving. Knowing that Janeway needs coffee to function, the Doctor might have been able to provide the second opinion that Janeway wanted in Star Trek: Prodigy season 1. A brief stint with tea to reduce overall caffeine intake would prevent withdrawal symptoms like irritability, and prepare Admiral Janeway to reunite with her true love from Star Trek: Voyager: coffee. (Now in decaf!)