Q: What is the purpose of the Starter Tea? Why can't I just add the culture?

A: Adding the Starter Tea immediately lowers the pH of the sweet tea from roughly 5.5 to 4.5 or below. This is the recommended pH to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria, molds, etc. and is why your brew can sit out at room temperature while brewing. It's particularly important in those first few days before your new culture grows on top, which acts as biofilm and protects the liquid below from airborne contaminants.