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:
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?