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In order to get a more gourmet coffee drinking experience I have recently been getting whole beans and freshly grinding them before brewing coffee using an automatic drip coffee maker. Coffee connoisseurs say that freshly ground beans are the only way to go, or so I've herad. However, the results are disappointing and the coffee is always weaker and more watery than the coffee I have been drinking for years.

For reference, I am used to Folgers coffee, or Chock full o'Nuts coffee. These two are both store-bought, pre-ground coffee and produce the results I know. It seems like I need at least 2 extra Tbsp of freshly ground beans to match the strength of pre-ground Folgers, which is counterintuitive.

I have tried three different bags of fresh beans from two sources, so I don't think the problem is the beans. I have heard that if the coffee is too old then it can be much weaker, but the most recent bag was marked that it was roasted a week prior to my getting it.

I am grinding the coffee with a Krups blade grinder and I know that a Burr grinder is more consistent and preferable, but I don't have one (and don't want to invest in one right now, especially if I'm not sure that the blade grinder is the problem)

I have tried a variety of different granularities but try to match the pre-ground as closely as possible. More fine is slightly stronger but also much, much more bitter. The last time, my ground beans looked like this:

Picture of coffee grounds

I normally measure by both volume and by weight and there was no significant change. When measured by volume, I use the same ratio as I use for pre-ground coffee: 5/8 of a cup (10 Tbsp) to ~2.5 cups water.

I am brewing using a rather high-end Bonavita Connoisseur one-touch brewer. I have tried both "pre-infusion" mode and normal mode and the results are the same.

Is there anything I am clearly doing wrong? From what I've described, is there a reason why my freshly ground coffee is more watery than pre-ground?

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    That looks like a really coarse [& very varied] grind to me. I'd expect it to be weak, especially on a simple drip-filter. – Tetsujin Apr 21 '20 at 17:26
  • It's probably just the way I'm grinding it then. It is very varried, because it's a blade grinder :( I'll try finer, or maybe hold out until we can get a burr grinder! – Josh Apr 21 '20 at 17:28
  • Ii'm surprised a fresh grind is more bitter than a store-ground, but idk your coffee types at all, never heard of the maker. – Tetsujin Apr 21 '20 at 17:28
  • This happens to me sometimes when I use my French press, interested to hear what people think! – pimentoandprose Apr 21 '20 at 18:31
  • Going to try smaller batches, and will see if that improves the consistency of the grind! – Josh Apr 21 '20 at 19:03
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Your grind is way too coarse. Finely ground coffee not only has more surface area exposed to let out flavor, it also forms a barrier, making the water go slower through the coffee, so you get even more flavor. A burr grinder isn't needed for a drip feed, you can get perfectly good results with a blade grinder, you just need to use it longer, and perhaps in smaller batches depending on the size of the grinder and how many cups you are trying to make.

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  • Thanks! I was thinking smaller batches, because as @Tetsujin said in the comments, the grind is really inconsistent, and to get the coarse pieces shown to become fine with this quantity, what I end up with is more the coarseness of espresso, that is, very fine (too fine) – Josh Apr 21 '20 at 19:03
  • I have a blade grinder for the rare occasions when I end up with beans. I either need to use tiny batches or sift the big bits out and put them through again. This would need an unusually coarse sieve but some tea strainers do the job. – Chris H Apr 27 '20 at 16:44
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Your grind size is too coarse. The best course of action is to buy a decent burr coffee grinder. I say decent, because I have seen burr grinders that were worse than the blade ones, though these are very cheap.

Your blade grinder is hard to work with, because you don't have any consistency. You can only have some sort of consistency when you grind very fine, but that is too fine for drip coffee. If you don't have the budget, you can grind a little finer than for drip, and go with smaller batches.

One way to improve consistency with a blade coffee grinder is to grind to the level you showed in the picture, take out the larger bits, dump the even grounds in the filter and put back the larger bits for another round of grinding. A lot of work, if you ask me, and you will still not get the consistency of a burr grinder, but it work.

A a fine grind will slow down the pour, so make sure you don't make a full batch, because it will overflow.

This should work, but you need to adjust you recipe, because 2 spoons of fine ground coffee make a stronger coffee than 2 spoons of medium grind. You probably need to add about 20% more water per batch, when you grind finer

Another option is to grind your coffee in the store. They have great grinders, usually.

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