Chris Legge was with a friend, experimenting with some sample roasts for his new shop, when he made a sarcastic joke.

“This coffee is so good, it should be illegal,” Legge said.

His friend humoured him: “Maybe you should call the new shop Contraband!”

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Legge and his wife Jess eventually did. Contraband looks out over the fishmongers on Preston Market’s Pam Lane. Although the cafe is confined to a standard stall, there’s a decent amount of room for customers to sit.

“Most other food and beverage places at Preston Market are built out to the edge,” he says. “It was really important for us to have a space that people can inhabit and watch what’s going on.”

Contraband’s queen bee is a custom La Marzocco Strada espresso machine, churning out brews prepped by two grinders – a Victoria Arduino Mythos One and Mahlkönig EK43. Beans are roasted at Fitzroy’s Newtown Specialty Coffee, which Legge also owns. A selection of desserts – which includes vegan and gluten-free options – are also made in Fitzroy.

Espressos aside, Contraband also does Aeropress, pour-over and cold drip – made with Legge’s Witch Doctor blend. A selection of brew equipment is also for sale.

Legge got into the industry towards the end of his landscape architecture degree, when he decided he preferred working with milk and beans over Macbooks. He hopes to share his enthusiasm with the locals.

“The first thing I do on my day off is go find a new cafe somewhere and go out for coffee,” he says. “I think people in Preston are calling out for a place with specialty coffee, to do the same.”

Contraband Coffee Traders
Shop N9, Preston Market, Corner Cramer and Mary Street, Preston)
No phone

Wed 7am–3pm
Thu & Fri 7am–6pm
Sat & Sun 8am–3pm