Nope…Little harder than that – well sort of. My boyfriend is growing his first batch right now. The “starter” is a starter culture; really it’s a blob of bacteria or whatever. He got his blob from a co-worker who make kombucha. So you put your MAMA blob in a room temp jar of tea (we used yerba mate) and a certain amount of sugar (that feeds the blob and is eventually converted to that sour flavor) and let it sit in the closet covered with a paper towel for a few weeks to a month. The MAMA blob floats on top and little BABY blobs form. When its done, I am not sure if you eat the mama or the babies, but one or the other is saved for the next batch.
The kombucha maker of the house is asleep. When he gets up, I will post you a link to the website he looked at. Oh, you can buy a starter blob online too.
um…don’t eat the blob. it probably wont make you sick, but its not whats good for you. you drink the tea and give away the baby to another person interested in making booch, then use the mother to make yourself another batch.
you should be tasting the mix everyday after the 7th day to check for that acidic taste. if you leave it for a month, you will have vinegar.
if you see mold (dry spores), you should throw the whole thing out. dont confuse mold and the new baby being formed….mold is dry, baby is wet.
sorry your question about starter tea: most people when they give you a SCOBY will include some starter. if not, you can use pasteurized vinegar or some tea from the last batch. its function is only to lower the pH of the batch so that nothing proliferates in the liquid that isnt supposed to.
tip: i like to add dried ginger or raisins during the bottling process to add a different flavor.