There are five great growing areas for Arabica coffee between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn:
Islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans
Eastern Africa grows the following coffees, known by the following names: Ethiopia, Harrar, Kenya, Malawi, Sidamo, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Yemen, and even South Africa. These countries produce coffees that tend to be fruity, acidic, and medium-bodied, with hints of various berries, dried fruits, and raisins.
From the northernmost corner of Mexico, southward along Central America toward Colombia and Peru, coffees of this region tend toward neutral and medium-bodied, yet acidic. There are distinct taste differences from microclimate to microclimate. Names and tastes you might recognize from this region are; Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, and Peru.
Brazil, defined by its full-bodied, naturally processed coffees, one of the few truly national styles of coffee, distinctively and immediately recognizable. The Brazil flavor, full, forward, and a tad grainy, is well known to consumers even if they do not know that the light-roasted coffee they drink in donut shops and fast-food outlets usually has a good percentage of Brazilian coffee in the blend.
The island coffees grown between the Indian and Pacific Oceans are a variant group with distinctive characteristics. These coffees are uniformly of thunderous body, and range in texture from downright gravelly to a smoothness and fullness bordering on that of heavy cream. Acidity is generally low, and flavor nuances tend toward spiciness, as opposed to the fruitiness of the East African coffees. They include coffees from Java, Sumatra, New Guinea, and to some extent, India.
“Miscellaneous islands” is a catch-all category of exotic coffees, and can sound more romantic than they taste. These include those of Hawaii; in particular, those of the Kona Coast, as well as Jamaica, Puerto Rico, and even the Galapagos Islands. At their best, these coffees tend to be mild, neutral, and very clean, with a hint of acidity.