Before you sip maté and genmai cha with the locals, make sure you know the intricate rules of the game.

By Nikki Goldstein

While it is not offensive to add milk and sugar to your tea, you should taste it in its purest form before doing so.
After stirring, place your spoon on the saucer behind the cup, its handle pointing the same way as the cup’s.
Don’t use the straw (called a bombilla) to stir maté – the leaves floating on top should stay dry.
When drinking tea with a shopkeeper, don’t talk prices – or business of any kind – until the glasses are emptied.
Express thanks to your server by tapping your index and middle fingers lightly on the table twice.
It’s considered polite to decline an offer of tea, at first. Accept only after letting your host insist.