Office of Alumni Relations

The latest news from Virginia Commonwealth University

Get ready for pumpkin spice season by supporting alumni coffee shop owners and roasters in September. Get a stamp when you visit each alumni owned coffee shop listed below.

Then, join us at 8 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 29 at Urban Hang Suite, for National Coffee Day. There you can redeem your card, enter to win VCU-inspired coffee gifts and enjoy a roasting demonstration of our very own Black & Gold blend that combines flavors from Ethiopia and Columbia and is inspired by the creative, expansive and eclectic community of VCU.

For additional discounts and swag, visit the VCU Alumni table from 8-9 a.m. on the dates below:

Meet our alumni

Coffee Liberated

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LaDora Carter is the owner and head roaster of Coffee Liberated, a woman-owned small batch coffee roasting company in Virginia. LaDora has long harvested a deep love for connecting sacred space, nature, freedom, and community. Born in Martinsville, VA and raised in northern Virginia, LaDora has traveled around the world including Brazil where she studied and experienced her first taste of homegrown coffee. This trip sparked a deep passion for single origin coffee cultivation. She later began intensive, hands-on learning and cooperative building with African descendant roasters. LaDora has been a coffee roaster for the last three years and is currently in residency at Southeastern Roastery in Baltimore, MD.

Urban Hang Suite
304 E. Broad St., Richmond, VA 23219

Kelli Lemon is passionate about how people “LIVE” Virginia and socially connects people through food, sports, arts and education. She brings community news to life through video content as Director of Digital Programming for Richmond Times Dispatch / Virginia Video Network. Kelli also owns a social cafe and coffee shop , Urban Hang Suite, located in the historic Jackson Ward and Art’s districts of Richmond. On the weekends, Kelli is making Virginia residents a little richer while supporting public schools K-12 as the day time Draw Show Host for the Virginia Lottery. Kelli is also helping Black owned businesses as a co-founder of (Virginia) Richmond Black Restaurant Experience and the Jackson Ward Collective.

2620 Buford Road, Bon Air, VA 23235

Christophile Konstas (B.A.’00) and Elizabeth Ellen (B.A.’00) were randomly assigned as roommates at VCU, which led to a lifelong friendship and, eventually, a business partnership. The idea first germinated as they chatted over endless cups of coffee between art classes. Each left Richmond, returned and started careers; 15 years after college they opened Perk! Coffee & Lunchbox in Bon Air. The café includes a bakery with a made-from-scratch/locally sourced menu and a retail section with locally made goods, plus outdoor seating; it offers breakfast, lunch and catering. They’ve also been featured in Richmond Magazine. 

402½  N. Second St., Suite A, Richmond, VA 23219

Lily Fasil (B.S.’13) was born and raised in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and immigrated to the United States with her family in 2009. She studied communications at VCU, then moved to Washington, D.C., to work a corporate gig after graduation. With encouragement from her sister, Aida Kochel (B.S.’10), she returned to Richmond to bring BunaKurs to life. Buna translates to coffee, kurs means breakfast in Amharic, a language spoken in Ethiopia, and the menu at the cafe offers a bit of both. Lily sources her beans from Yirgacheffe, a region in Southern Ethiopia where beans thrive and are known for their delicate, floral notes.

Riverbend Roastery
2623 E. Broad St., Richmond, VA 23223

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