Spotter Up Review: BOLO Coffee D.O.A. and Code 4 Blends

The “Matte Black Coffee Market” is loaded with an array of coffee companies that make it very difficult to pick one out of the crowd from the other. Some make agro bro like boasts that you would expect to see in energy drink commercials. They say things along the lines of “guaranteed to give you the shakes” and “like getting punched in the mouth”. Seeing as how neither of those things are very appealing (I happen to like the way my face looks and don’t relish the idea of a medical emergency) BOLO Coffee Company makes some claims that are pretty refreshing using sentences like “Smooth, rich, and calming are all words you could use to describe the mood this coffee will put you in.”


Their packaging is simple; a matte black colored bag with a sticker to identify it. The sticker is mostly white with some black text and high visibility orange. That color is typically used in lots of fire and EMS equipment and is found on traffic cones everywhere. BOLO is marketed for the first responder and military service man or woman. The name BOLO is common vernacular in these communities, an acronym for “Be on the look out”.


I was sent their D.O.A. (Dark on Arrival) and Code 4 blends. These names are more reference to the target market of emergency personnel, playing off of “Dead on Arrival” and Code 4 which is a supplemental code virtually universally applied to mean “status is okay” or “in good condition”. For the purposes of this review I will be comparing the two based on flavor and caffeine content.

D.O.A. is a dark roast utilizing Columbian Supremo and Brazilian beans. Code 4 is a medium roast with Columbian Supremo and Ethiopian beans. They retail at $13.99 for a 12 oz. which should yield around 60 cups of coffee.


The D.O.A. flavor starts out with a punch. It starts with a strong flavor to it (which I enjoy in my coffee). I think the best way I could describe is it similar to a smoky dark chocolate. It carries into a full body flavor that is not overpowering in the least. I would describe that flavor as being mildly smooth. You know that you’re drinking coffee, but it doesn’t need to be doctored to be enjoyed. The D.O.A. is a very safe bet in the coffee market as the Columbian Supremo and Brazilian coffee beans are very popular and pretty often found together in roasts. BOLO has done a good job of creating a unique flavor in their balance of the beans and roasting methods to not blend into the rest of the field.

The Code 4 coffee is a little bit different. The Columbian Supremo bean is very commonly used and when paired with an Ethiopian bean it should yield a more smooth and mild coffee product. The body of this coffee delivers just that; a very mild and smooth flavor that feels like you could have just chewed on a coffee bean and sipped some herbal tea. It has a good body of flavor. The initial taste of this blend is what surprised me. It had a surprisingly good yet bitter initial punch. I felt as though that initial punch was stronger than to what the dark roast D.O.A. had.

Caffeine Breakdown

If you are a novice coffee enthusiast, (I’m no pro, I’m just a knuckle dragger that likes to drink coffee and read) I’ll let you in on a rule of thumb in the coffee world. Generally speaking, the darker the roast the lower the caffeine content. This has to do with density of the bean dropping the longer that it is roasted (cue the rainbow trailed shooting star and fade in “The More You Know”). These two coffees are par for the course in that rule of thumb. The D.O.A. has enough caffeine to let you know that it’s there, but you’re certainly not using it as a pre workout supplement. The Code 4 packs a little more punch. You definitely get a jolt from it but no jitters. I would equate it to falling a couple of notches behind an energy drink.

Wrapping up, I feel like the big surprise after really taking some time to evaluate BOLO’s D.O.A. and Code 4 roasts is the level of refinement. It’s like opening up the typical matte black bag of coffee dipping your scoop into the grind and pulling out a gourmet coffee shoppe. I could tell that these blends were going to be different when I opened the bags. If you are a caffeine rush chaser, these may not be what you’re looking for. If it’s a fine cup of coffee developed by a fellow first responder, even if he’s a hose dragger, then these are the roasts for you.

Time to rate em’!


Packaging: 5/5

Grind: 5/5

Flavor: 5/5

Caffeinated Punch: 3/5

Price: 4/5

Overall 4.4/5

Code 4

Packaging: 5/5

Grind: 5/5

Flavor: 5/5

Caffeinated Punch: 4/5

Price: 4/5

Overall 4.6/5

Go buy a bag here

Material Disclosure

I received this product as a courtesy from the manufacturer via Spotter Up so I could test it and give my honest feedback. I am not bound by any written, verbal, or implied contract to give this product a good review. All opinions are my own and are based off my personal experience with the product.

*The views and opinions expressed on this website are solely those of the original authors and contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Spotter Up Magazine, the administrative staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

Brought to you by the dudes at Spotter Up


By Bill Farmer

Bill Farmer is a 12 year law enforcement veteran He is a defensive tactics, tactical driving and active shooter instructor. Bill has worked in school resource, violent crimes, plain clothes and patrol assignments. Bill is an avid outdoorsman, backpacker, hunter and shooter.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.