Ok, so probably not the blog topic you expected on a speciality coffee website but hey, a perfect poached egg is never far from a good coffee in a cafe.
I have lost count of how many friends I have taught to poach eggs. The common question asked as soon as they know we have a cafe is "How do you do poached eggs, I can never get them right?" followed by "How much should I swirl the water?"
Don't swirl the water!!
Ok Lets do this, its easy!
Get a pot with a bit of depth and fill it with water. In the cafe, our pots are around 25cm deep. Fill the pot with water. The idea here is to allow enough depth for the egg to form a skin while it drops down into the hot water. Hopefully it has formed before it hits the bottom of the pot. No problems if not, we'll cover that in a bit.
Add around 5% of the water volume you originally added, as vinegar (whatever white coloured vinegar you have). Don't stress too much about getting the 5% exact. Make sure its a good dash. This will help the egg stay in its shape
This is the bit where you forget everything you heard about swirling. We don't swirl in the cafe, it would be weird and it doesn't work. The trick here is to let the water heat to a point where the surface is moving a little. If its boiling rapidly, that's way too turbulent and there's a chance your egg will break apart. If its not moving at all your egg will just sit there on the bottom slowly cooking. It will still cook, but will take ages
Carefully drop your cracked egg onto the water's surface and let it drop down into the water. If your pot isn't deep, that's ok. Your egg may stick a little on the base. Give it a minute in the water to set a little and then gently scrape it off the bottom. It should start floating around the pot
Gently lift your egg after a few minutes, with a slotted spoon and give it a little wobble. If it looks like there is still a liquid mass in the middle, its not cooked. Ideally the egg white will have a firmness to it, leaving the egg yolk runny. If it needs more time, drop it back into the water and keep checking intermittently until you get the desired outcome
A REALLY IMPORTANT TIP - Use super fresh eggs. The egg whites will stay together like a delicious little blob.
Old eggs spread out in the water into a ribbony mess.
This is a great way to cook eggs for a lot of people. As you get more confident, you cant start dropping in eggs everywhere and managing them like a pro. Remember, keep the water surface gently moving by managing the heat source