Well I have successfully started a kombucha mother from a bottle of Original GT's. Due to the fact that we are total cheapskates, I had to wait about 4 weeks for it to grow to a decent size (our house is at about 65 degrees in the winter). After it warmed up a bit (in the 70s last week!) it really took off.
Last Wednesday, I started my first batch. I am using organic green tea that I bought at Wang's in Urbandale, although next time I think I'll get my tea from Friedrich (they have a great selection of bulk teas). I brewed about 1 1/2 gallons of green tea (about 14 tea bags) and added 2 cups of turbinado sugar (i would have used regular refined since it gets used up by the kombucha mother, but I actually did not have any.) I moved the mother out of the starter jar (never letting her touch metal!) and into the shiny new 2 1/2 gallon jar I bought at target for $19. I also added about 2 cups of the starter kombucha. The remainder I bottled with a slice of ginger and it is sitting on my counter for 5 days then it is into the fridge for consumption! I have heard the first batch used to grow the mother is not as tasty, so we'll see how my first bottles taste.
As you can see it is getting disgusting! In about a week and a half, I should be able to bottle the batch and start the next one! For those of you in the Des Moines area interested in trying this out, I should have mothers to share in the next few months.