Contraband Coffee Traders
Legge, who already owns Newtown Speciality Coffee in Fitzroy, has just opened Contraband Coffee Traders at Preston Central. The new shop is a very different proposition to Newtown.
“This one (Contraband) is about showcasing the roasting side of the business. Our Fitzroy shop has a menu of comfort food. This one’s very coffee-focussed. All the coffee machinery takes centre stage.”
Legge is a self-confessed coffee nerd, and a short black drinker.
“I’m constantly tasting stuff to make sure it’s fine, so a long black for me tastes too light and too watery.”
He was messing about at home on a 300g roaster, testing different blends, when a friend cracked a joke about “coffee so good it should be illegal”.
“That’s how the contraband name came up. It sort of started as a light-hearted comment, but upon reflection, I was like, that’s a kick-arse name.”
The entire business is built around little quirks like this one. Legge wants his coffee to be different, and to stand out from the crowd.
“The idea is that people don’t just drink our coffee and go, ‘yeah, that was good.”
The Harlequin is Legge’s milk coffee blend. It’s full-bodied, with hints of chocolate and caramel, and designed to cut through the milk. The Witch Doctor is his blend for black coffee. It’s more delicate and complex, with fruity and floral flavours.
Contraband also offers a range of single origin coffees, with a particular focus on filter extractions.
“A big part of it is the customer interaction. I like the personal exchanges, and getting to know so many different people. I’ve worked in the inner north for a decade, and it’s a good melting pot of culture. People are always up for a chat, and they’re keen to learn about coffee.”
Legge already has a steady flow of regulars, who appear at the same time each morning, as if it’s Groundhog Day.
Tucked away in the market, near the fishmongers and PAM Lane, Contraband is only a short walk from Preston Station.
“We’re trying to get more morning commuters to pop in, but no one leaves spare time… We want to convince them to give themselves that extra five minutes,” Legge says.
Thu & Fri 7am–6pm
Sat & Sun 8am–3pm
AND FOUR OTHER CAFES TO TRY
THE OLD FIRE STATION CAFE GALLERY
BEST FOR: A bit of charm, whenever you feel like it
On the corner of High St and Roseberry Avenue sits the Old Fire Station, which is now a beautifully converted cafe and gallery. This spacious old red brick building is perfect for bigger groups, and has super-convenient opening hours. They have live music and are open late on Fridays and Saturdays. If you fancy something stronger than a coffee, they’ll always have you covered!
As well as local musicians, they also showcase local artists. There’s no better place to get a look at everything Preston has to offer. The gallery is great for a squiz while you walk off your lunch!
Thu & Fri 7am–6pm
Sat & Sun 8am–3pm
BEST FOR: A coffee stop while you shop
A calavera is a representation of a human skull, and it’s the use of the skull motif that makes this coffee stop unmissable.
There cups are some of the coolest going around, and the coffee doesn’t disappoint, either. They also offer a range of cakes, sandwiches and pastries, with gluten-free and vegan friendly options available!
Perched right on the edge of the market’s hullabaloo, pop past to grab your brew while you’re shopping for your fresh produce at the nearby fruit and veg stalls!
Wed 7.30am – 3pm
Thu & Fri 7.30am – 6pm
Sat 6am – 3pm
Sun 8am- 3pm
BEST FOR: Tough, tough menu decisions…op
The menu at Caffe Rustico gives you plenty to ponder! Offerings include Moroccan shakshuka, falafel-based salads, quesadillas, all your breakfast classics, and the traditional Aussie steak sandwich.
Using Atomica beans, the coffee doesn’t disappoint, either. That said, if you’re craving something a bit sweeter, their thick shakes are something to behold. There’s barely room left here to mention their renowned BLT, which is a total steal for 8 bucks…
They have plenty of gluten-free and vegan options available, too!
Weekdays & Sat 7am – 4pm
Sun 8am – 2pm
BEST FOR: Every man, woman & dog (it’s spacious)
Preston Society has just changed owners, but it’s still the same super spacious shape it was previously! If you’re out for brunch, or looking to head out, with a big group, PS is an easy choice!
At great prices, there’s an array of brekky, lunch and pasta choices, and dietary requirements can be easily catered for. There’s also a drinks menu, if you’re looking for some casual afternoon beers or wines.
The best part is nothing on the menu is over $20 – except that bottle of vino you’ve been eyeing up!
Everyday 8am – 4.30pm
By Jack Banister, The Township